Last week, prior to the New York Yankees’ series against the Baltimore Orioles, the team’s standard milestone press release caused quite a few waves in baseball circles. These press releases are typically run-of-the-mill lists of relatively minor accomplishments and are given out before the start of every series.
The Yankees, however, actually have a player about to accomplish something fairly noteworthy in baseball history. Alex Rodriguez (who I imagine is referred to as “He Who Must Not be Named” within the Yankees’ front office) was only four home runs away from tying Willie Mays for fourth on baseball’s all-time home run list before the start of the series with the Orioles. For some unknown reason — scratch that, six million very well known reasons — the Yankees neglected to mention this tidbit in their press release.
Here is the press release to which I am referring.
Now that a week has passed, I felt it was my duty as a dedicated writer to update my readers on these very historic and important moments in New York Yankees history.
The biggest congratulations go out to Didi Gregorius who did indeed play in his 200th career game last week. Gregorius has now gone onto play in his 203rd career game, which is quite the accomplishment. Gregorius will reach his 300th career game at some point this season, unless his .200 batting average causes the Yankees to cut his playing time.
Mark Teixeira has since clubbed two home runs and has passed Lance Berkman for fifth all-time amongst switch hitters. The Yankees could actually have a very interesting race on their hands the rest of the season, as Carlos Beltran is next in Teixeira’s sights on the all-time switch hitter home run list. Beltran is idling on 373 career switch-hit home runs, but he did make quite a splash last week with his 1,000th career American League hit. I hope he saved the ball from that one. Beltran has 2,329 total hits for his career, but I am sure his 1,000th American League hit will always hold a special place in his heart.
A big congratulations also goes out to Stephen Drew, who was able to pass 100 career home runs. Drew has four home runs on the season, which ties him with the Milwaukee Brewers. Drew’s home runs currently comprise half of his eight hits on the season, but he is outslugging the entire Brewers lineup with a .500 slugging percentage. With a .190 batting average, Drew sports a .310 ISO, so at least he’s making his hits count.
Brett Gardner has blown the doors off of good old Wid Conroy. With five stolen bases on the season, he has now swiped 187 bags for his career. Gardner has also left one of baseball’s biggest racists, Ben Chapman, in his dust. This week’s milestone press release should certainly note that Gardner is only 46 steals away from tying the legendary Roy White for fifth in franchise history. Props to Gardner, though. It’s not every week you can surpass such legendary names as Fritz Maisel, Ben Chapman, and Wid Conroy in Yankees’ lore.
Wid Conroy last appeared in the big leagues in 1911, and had a career .248 batting average. He will forever be known as the player who was passed by Brett Gardner for sixth all-time on the Yankees’ stolen base list.
The best part of the list, to me, is that fact that Rodriguez’s name actually appears on this list, with no less than three upcoming milestones. Bert Daniels‘ status as the Yankee who has stolen the 16th most bases in franchise history is probably safe. Rodriguez’s surgically repaired hips may spontaneously combust if he does attempt a stolen base, so maybe the Yankees brass should be encouraging him to really get after Daniels. Derek Jeter, however, now finds himself sliding down the all-time runs scored list, due largely to the fact that Rodriguez hit not one, but two home runs last week. Rodriguez now sits only two home runs away from setting off a lengthy legal battle with the Yankees over the status of his $6 million bonus for passing Mays.
This week’s edition of upcoming Yankee milestones has not yet surfaced for the general public’s viewing pleasure, but you can bet there will yet again be no mention of the upcoming 660th career home run for Alex Rodriguez. If the Yankees close their eyes and cover their ears, and maybe stomp their feet hard enough, the home run will not happen.
It continues to amuse me that the Yankees refuse to acknowledge the production of the one player in their lineup who is actually hitting the ball with regularity this season. Rodriguez has actually been the best hitter in the Yankees’ lineup this season, much to the chagrin of management, I’m sure. There can be nothing worse than actually having your highest-paid player live up to his contract, albeit after a 212 game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs, lying about it, and attempting to cover it all up.
Home run number 660 is coming for Alex Rodriguez is coming, probably within the next two weeks. If it comes at Yankee Stadium, I can only hope it comes in the same game in which Chase Headley hits his elusive 200th career double so that baseball fans everywhere can experience the joy of celebrating two such important moments in the storied history of the New York Yankees.